FALL RIVER (CBS) – It was a hazmat situation at a Hamlet Street apartment in Fall River on Saturday afternoon.

According to the Fall River Fire Department, a 51-year-old man tried to melt dental fillings, thinking they were silver. Actually, they were mercury.

Fall River’s District Fire Chief Michael Clark said the man’s grandfather was a dentist and he got old fillings from him. Apparently, the man tried melting the fillings a couple of weeks ago, got sick and has been hospitalized since Jan. 28.

According to the Fall River Fire Department, a man tried to melt dental fillings, thinking they were silver. Actually, they were mercury. (Courtesy WPRI)

On Saturday, the man’s girlfriend notified the fire department. In the meantime, a dog and two cats died.

A 17-year-old girl who live in the building tested positive for mercury. Two people are now hospitalized and the entire apartment building is unlivable.

“It’s really strange the way that it happened. Like I said, this started on January 25th and we finally got the call now to go down because … they didn’t realize what was happening,” said Clark.

The home on Hamlet Street is unlivable. (Courtesy WPRI)

According to the World Health Organization: “Elemental and methylmercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal. The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested.”

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